That Man Behind the Curtain: August 2012

Sorry for the delay. Yesterday was an adventure in health. So you get this the afternoon of the second.

This month we get to look at our first full month of ad revenue, the biggest advertising budget to date, and our first collection out for sale. It all comes out a little depressing. Grab your hankies, folks!

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.

Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($85.00)
Art: ($190.00)
Advertising: ($312.99)
Paypal Fees: ($11.33)
Donations: $15
Ad Revnue: $0.55
Books Sales: $8.84
Total: ($591.99)
QTD: ($883.00)
YTD: ($1863.20)
All Time: ($1,968.95)

I realized as I put together the numbers to represent how things are going, that last month’s numbers were a little off. Weird things like mixing up YTD and All Time. Rest assured that there is no malice in this, only lack of sleep.

We did a lot of new things, sunk a bit of extra money into the advertising, sold a thing! In the end, it’s a little discouraging. It’s always hard when you have low expectations and you realize you didn’t have them low enough. We’re open to feedback if you want to send it to us. Just drop a note at and let us know what you think.

Our first full month of ad revenue came out to $0.55. That’s about 1.7 cents per day. Which, on a daily basis, is more than three times what we made in July. But still only 55 cents.

And, we launched our first collection of stories. Most of it is reprinted from the site, but about 10% is original content. I didn’t know how well it would do, but I didn’t think it would do as poor as it did. And I’ll be honest: the first book sold was to us. After the first few days of the book being up, we had no sales. We announced the hell out of it, our writers announced the hell out of it. We were sure there might be one or two sales, from someone’s mom at least or something. But there were none. So we broke down and bought a copy to see if our report was real time. And, sad truth: It was real time. Of the remaining three copies sold, I think one was by an author and one by a friend from my writing group.

The word I’m looking for is “sobering.”

There are a lot of possible reasons this could have come about, but I’m not sure. I made some choices that may not have suited me well, but I had my reasons for them. These choices may be biting me in the ass.

We also received $15 in donations, at least some of which was out of pity. But that’s okay. We’re not above pity. As with previous months, we have been covering the Paypal costs for all payments sent to writers or artists. This month was also a little transitional. While our new contracts include all language regarding advances and royalties, we still had some people on the old contract. So there were some payments to go with signing on for the inclusion in the Summer 2012 anthology. There were also a few expenses for

For our advertising, we shot out ads at a mix of places. Some of these are monthlong campaigns, which haven’t gone a full month. But I’m counting these all as August expenses for convenience. It breaks down about like this:

  • $100 to Facebook. We’ve had success with them in the past, even though they are evil.
  • $150 to Goodreads. I’ve had some success with their book giveaways as an author, so I thought I’d try adverise on them.
  • $15 to Project Wonderful, since my wife has had good experiences with them and I like them as an alternative to Google.
  • $20 to Wily Writers, because Angel Leigh McCoy is a friend who runs an awesome site.
  • $27.99 to Moo Cards, to get some business cards printed up with some of our art to drop off in random places that are geek friendly.

Facebook, Goodreads, and Project Wonderful all give you numbers for how your campaign is doing. Which can be a little overwhelming and discouraging. Also a little comical.

Facebook: I pay by clicks, usually. So Facebook will show my ad until I use my daily budget of people clicking on it. Then every few days they bill you. So far, 53,620 people saw it. 63 people clicked on it. All told, about 80 new Likes. It’s used about $30 of the budget.

Goodreads: They charge by click, but you have to pay your budget in advance. And as you put in your budget, they guilt you with how much traffic you’re going to lose by not spending more. So I got guilted $150 worth. Which has now led to a comical situation: The ad has been viewed 18,892, but it’s only been clicked on twice. At 50 cents a click, I’ve only use $1 of my $150 budget. I don’t know what exactly will happen when I get to the end of my month and I still have $149 left. =P

Project Wonderful: 139,922 views, 259 clicks. I’ve spent about $10 of my budget. All told? I think My $15 on Project Wonderful went a hell of a lot farther than either Facebook or Goodreads.


We’ve received five submissions for Summer 2012, three classified ads and two exclusive fiction. We’ve accepted four of them and are still considering one of the exclusive fiction.

Further, we’ve received 18 regular submissions, of which we’ve accepted 5. We experienced a pretty good sized spike in submissions, but also a big spike in people who don’t read submission guidelines and submit something that doesn’t belong. Among these was our first serial submission, which we’ve requested rewrites for but have not had a chance to look at. There is also a regular submission we haven’t looked at. So we’ve so far accepted 5.

So we’ve accepted 27% of regular submissions in August, 39% when you include the exclusive submissions. So to date we have received 78 submissions and accepted 48. This drops our acceptance rate to 61%. (If we accept the other two stories that are pending, it might bring us up to 64%.) Hopefully I’ll remember to include these when I do this report next month.

We have enough accepted content to keep us in fiction through early November.


August had a total of 1,264 visits, a jump of a few hundred from last month’s 924. This consisted of 901 unique visitors (up from last month’s 616) and 2,218 page views (up from 1,666 last month). Our highest daily traffic was 108.

Facebook and Stumbleupon continue to be our big sources of traffic, with a startling number from Whoever is helping there: Thanks! We also have 8 hits from Wily Writers, which makes that a much more successful ad campaign on a hits per dollar basis than Goodreads. There are also a lot of hits from various web comics, which I think is a result of my ads through Project Wonderful.

August’s “Search of the Month” is “chickens bacterial flora of the digestive system”.

And now, to the goofing off for the rest of my Labor Day Weekend. I’ll check back in tomorrow morning with our new story!

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